Paris, October 27th, 2020
FIGHTING HATRED, VIOLENCE AND THE DESTRUCTION THREATS AGAINST FRANCE
The NGO Respect Zone, involved in the fight against cyber-violence, wishes to pay a tribute to Mr Samuel Paty, a teacher assassinated for carrying out his educational mission.
It wishes to express its members’ most profound condolences to his family and loved ones.
Mr. Samuel Paty was a much appreciated teacher and concerdened about the future of his students. One of those teachers who marked our adolescence, whose name, words and face are never forgotten.
He was a teacher open to the world and to all cultures, who solely aimed at broadening the minds of his students by empowering them in better understanding of the world and its diversity.
For teaching a course on freedom of expression, some people who disagreed with the values of our Republic raged against him and others committed the odious act we know.
We extend our tribute by remembering also Jonathan Sandler, a teacher assassinated on March 19, 2012 with his two little boys Ariéh and Gabriel in front of the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse.
After the shock and astonishment, then the sustained homage and meditation, the time has come to ask ourselves the appropriate questions, at a time when the values of our Republic are being called into question by some of our fellow citizens and by foreign governments:
How can laicity be still be resonating ?
How can the values of the Republic and democracy be transmitted?
How can we uphold freedom of expression while eradicating online hatred?
Let us return to freedom of expression. Respect for freedom of expression consists in guaranteeing the essence of our laws: any criticism is considered lawful and legitimate as long as it is aimed at Things (God, Allah, YVH, their emissaries, the Church of Rome, Socialism, Ecology, Veganism, Capitalism, Scouting, etc.) and not at Beings.
Respect for freedom of expression means giving to opinion and debate their due licence while ensuring that no one’s integrity and security should be concerned.
Respect for freedom of expression means guaranteeing everyone the possibility of having the skills to analyse information, to detect manipulation and false information, to be empowered and sure of its own convictions.
It is now urgent to address these issues with all secondary and high school students in France.
To that end, Respect Zone makes three proposals:
1. At the end of the school holidays, to hold a minute of silence in homage to Mr Samuel Paty and to discuss with all the secondary and high school students in France the issue of respect for freedom of expression, the use of digital tools and the values of the Republic.
2. To establish “the day of respect” on 16 October each year in homage to Mr Samuel Paty and to invite all secondary school students to reflect on the issue of respect for freedom of expression and the values of the Republic at this occasion.
3. Make the major digital platforms more responsible and commit them to better moderation while making them participate fully in our democratic life by creating a tax that will provide a public fund supporting associations fighting cyber-violence and defending freedom of expression and the values of the Republic.
“The assassination of Samuel Paty and the wave of hate contents that we have been witnessing since October 16th prove that the measures put in place over the past 20 years are no longer suited to our society. Our association Respect Zone demands in each class and from the very end of the hollidays the introduction of a minute of silence preceded by a compulsory discussion on the October 16th attack as well as the creation of an annual day of respect. Moreover, it is becoming urgent to adopt new rules at the European level that will make social network platforms more responsible and impose on them enhanced obligations with strong sanctions. Our Respect Zone calls for the introduction of a tax so that the major digital platforms will participate in the funding of associations committed to the fight against cyberviolence. “says Philippe Coen, President of Respect Zone.
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